RC Military Helicopters
RC Military Helicopters | By William Redants
There are two distinct body shapes in the RC helicopters world – pod and boom, and scale model. Pod and boom refers to the “Dragonfly” design of single-rotor sports and 3D helicopters (i.e. collective and fixed pitch models) These consist of a pod, containing all the major mechanical parts, and a long tail boom with a rotor at the end.
They are built for agility, balance and speed (the way a dragonfly is) and are totally unlike a real helicopter in terms of appearance. The manufacturers have stripped away everything except the “bare bones.” For those who favour performance over appearance, though, it’s all that’s needed. They form the bulk of the electric helicopters market, where size and weight are at a premium.
Scale model RC helicopters, on the other hand, are exact replicas of the real-life craft they are named after. It is into this second group that military RC helicopters fall. The difference between these and conventional (civilian) replicas is obvious. They are meant to fly in combat. They are designed to be swift and agile.
And that is exactly what RC military helicopters are all about. They look good, yes – but in a khaki-macho kind of way. Unlike civilian replicas, these are built for looks and performance. For this reason, they form the bulk of scale electric RC helicopters.
All electric RC military helicopters are bought ready-to-fly – unlike their larger gas powered equivalents, whose owners pride themselves in building from scratch. Cumbersome turbo engines and little men in khaki uniform might look impressive at War Games rallies; but for a novice wanting some fun with combat maneuvers, electric are best. Besides anything else, they’re cheaper. Look good too.
Electric RC military helicopters are always coaxial, because of the tail. This allows them to be as lifelike as possible, as coaxial RC helicopters always have a shorter, wider tail than CP/FP craft. Some military coaxial do, in fact, have a tail rudder in addition to the main dual rotors. This makes the craft even more maneuverable, but doesn’t alter any of the other dimensions.
Strip away the outer layer, and underneath a military electric helicopter is just a conventional coax. All that’s been done, is to add military detail via a canopy, or fuselage. This can be lightweight plastic or alloy, and can even be purchased as an upgrade kit for standard pod and boom craft.
Although novice coaxial helicopters are 3 channel, the majority of electric militaries are 4. This allows for collective pitch on the rotors, an additional tail rudder and so on. What you then get is almost as good as a collective pitch model: the pilot can perform flips, rolls, inversions and dives, and even drop bombs – just like the real thing!
There is enormous choice available from manufacturers like E-Sky and Walkera. You might want to fly into combat with the Apache AH64, Strongbow, Airwolf or legendary Black Hawk. Perhaps it’s a MASH-style chopper you’re after? The art-tec MD500, with its all-round glass canopy, is for you then.
For beginners and indoor flyers, there can be no better choice than the tiny, but intricately detailed, 3-channel RC Military Hawk. It even has LED lights, for night flying maneuvers! At the other end of the scale is the Chinook CH-47 which, with its tandem co-axial rotors looks as impressive as it does in real life. There is, in fact, a gas-powered Chinook (the CH46), which has conventional twin rotors. These blades are huge, and extremely dangerous unless you are an expert. The electric version, however, can be handled by kids.
Finally, did you know that Russia has developed a full-size military coaxial helicopter? The Kamov Ka-50 is the world’s first single-seat attack chopper, although again it’s one probably best left to the experts to fly!
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